Reflection Curriculum Program Evaluation and Student Assessment EDUC6718 Tom Langmaack June 23, 2005 In this course I have researched testing methods including authentic assessment, standardized tests and classroom testing. I have read about various ways to analyze the testing data including using the mean, mode and and median. In addition, I've studied the use of standard deviation to consider testing error, either false-positive or false-negative and its impact on test use as an indicator of acceptable test criteria and student achievement. The current methods of authentic assessment showed Grant Wiggins as one of the major researcher today in the field. Current research indicates that the use of performance based assessment to inform instruction and aid in how students learn and to adapt to individual student needs has shown excellent results. This should however be used in conjunction with other forms of assessment such as traditional testing for knowledge and understanding, including multiple choice, matching etc. I further researched by surveying teachers in my school and analyzing the degree to which they were using authentic assessment methods in their practice. This I applied to the combination of task 2 and 3 in developing an action plan for improvement based on analyzing data from the school GEPA report. I analyzed the GEPA report and developed a needs assessment based on that data. That assessment focused on the achievement gap in the school between the black population and the balance of the population. From this I developed benchmarks and an action plan to address the problem. The solution was to have all teachers involved on some level with authentic assessment and applying it to student learning. I created an electronic portfolio for present and future reference. My new learning centered on the use of performance based assessment and its usefulness in addressing many learning concerns. One such concern is the problem of individual differences based on culture, learning preferences, disability and many more. Authentic assessment allows for addressing these differences adn preferences and helps students find material relevant to their lives. This helps in increasing student motivation and learning. Another issue is with the use of tests to inform instruction. Traditional testing is designed to test knowledge after the learning has taken place. Authentic assessment uses the test to help direct and guide the learning process and is an integral part of that process. With tests designed and used in this manner, students and teachers have a tool to use for direction and restructuring the learning process for increased student accomplishment. My paper on the action plan needed more clarity in some areas. Perhaps I could have made the needs assessment more clearly in stating the populations involved in the achievement gap more. In addition, the action plan could have been more general in its statement on how many teachers would be involved in authentic assessment. I saw the breakdown of teacher involvement as an achievable way to state 100% involvement, with only 10% committed to regular use of the assessment method, but perhaps in presenting it to teachers, the statement that 100% will be actively involved on some level would have more impact and avoid confusion or the ability to poke holes in the proposal. On the other hand, stating 100% often allows for people to see it as unreasonable, though the operative words in this case would be "on some level." That should quell most concerns. Although I use performance based assessment quite often in my classes, I see how more active use of testing for formative assessment purposes will increase student learning and particularly the backwards design concept. Designing learning from the essential concepts to the assessment methods to the activities and ultimate assessment of knowledge or skill gained really integrates learning with assessment and fully informs the instruction. From past experience, students respond well to feedback and the chance to try again to gain skill or knowledge. It can be highly motivating. The electronic portfolios have given a forum to express ideas, share ideas and use as a professional tool in the job market. I find it a great tool for learning and networking, and for professional growth. I intend to further investigate and experiment with authentic assessment methods in my classes. I have already looked at past lesson plans and see how I can improve them and include more authentic based assessment. I do use this form of assessment currently but not as developed and backwards planned as I have learned in this course. In teaching general music I have the opportunity to teach a wide variety of subjects as music encompasses many academic subjects, including science, math language arts and social studies. It also lends itself well to authentic assessment in that students perform at keyboards and create music. I often use feedback in the process of learning to play an instrument and this gives me another tool to allow more student engagement in the feedback process to increase motivation and learning. All in all, I feel I've learned useful and relevant information to apply to my classroom teaching.
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